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Posts Tagged ‘Hank Aaron’

Not much has happened since our slog of a season ended, but what did happen should be surprising to anybody.

Our first order of business was dismissing Bobby Valentine, which we did last Thursday.  This is something that was entirely predictable, appropriate, and correct.  We all know that he shouldn’t even have been hired in the first place.  It was awful.  He just wasn’t a good fit for our clubhouse, and the whole situation with him at the helm was completely dysfunctional.  There’s no need to go into specifics, but suffice it to say that there is a certain degree of professionalism that I think players and fans alike expect from a manager and that Bobby Valentine’s conception of that degree differed from ours.  Anyway, look for John Farrell and Tim Bogar to be on the brass’s radar.  Other possibilities include Torey Lovullo, former Pawtucket manager and current Jays first base coach; Joe McEwing, Other Sox bench coach; Tim Wallach, Dodgers third base coach; Brad Ausmus; and last but not least, our very own Jason Varitek.  Onward and forward!

Our blockbuster deal with the Dodgers is finally done.  For Nick Punto, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, we took on Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands in addition to previously acquired James Loney, Ivan De Jesus, and Allen Webster.

Pedroia was nominated for the Hank Aaron Award.

In other news, the Pats beat the Broncos, 31-21, last week.

Boston Globe Staff/Aram Boghosian

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It’s time to say goodbye to Mike Lowell; have fun in Texas.  Let me say this: it’s been one seriously great ride.  He was the 2007 World Series MVP for a reason, but unfortunately age happens.  He was the epitome of professionalism.  Talk about classy guys.  Mikey Lowell, ladies and gentlemen, was just about the classiest guy you could find, and his presence in the clubhouse will surely be missed.  Get ready for a standing ovation.  But like I said, age happens, and Theo does have a job to do.  It’s unfortunate that we have to send him off like this, but what other option do we have? The trade would give us catching prospect Max Ramirez, who’s leading the Venezuela Winter League in home runs.  But he’s had some wrist problems, so we’ll have to wait for his medical records to clear.  Then the question becomes, who will replace him? Or conversely, who’ll play first base, being that Youk can move over to third.  And as a result, Youk could save us a lot of money; the market doubles for us because of that flexibility, so we have the freedom to pick and choose someone who’s right for us and who comes at the right price.  I’ve heard we’re talking to Adrian Beltre, but believe me, I would be infinitely more enthusiastic about us talking to Adrian Gonzalez.

Remember Manny Delcarmen’s tragedy of a second half? Turns out he had shoulder fatigue for three months and didn’t say anything about it until September 30.  That’s just infuriating.  I mean, I don’t really know what to do with that.  Theo had him receive a cortisone shot that same night, but after the car accident he was dropped from the postseason roster anyway.  But that’s not the point.  Either you want to help your team win, or you want to help your team win.  If something’s going on, your team has a right to know, no matter how badly you want to play.  As a fan, it’s hard not to play what-if in these situations; with a healthy Delcarmen down the stretch, who knows what would’ve happened.

In an attempt to cover the holes in our bullpen made by the Braves, we signed Scott Atchison to a one-year deal with two options.  He spent the last two seasons in Japan and previous pitched for the Giants.  He had an ERA above four that year.  Whatever; he’s another option, and a bullpen built around options and flexibility is a bullpen poised to win a championship.  Besides, we still have Paps, Bard, Ramirez, and a hopefully healthy Delcarmen.  I think we’ll be okay.

We also acquired Boof Bonser from the Twins for pitching prospect Chris Province.  Bonser isn’t great.  He has a career ERA above five and missed all of last season due to labrum and rotator cuff tears.  But he adds depth to the staff; he’ll have a chance to try for a depth spot in the rotation.  But more likely, think of him as 2010’s Paul Byrd but with one conspicuous difference: the name.  The Boston Red Sox now have a pitcher named “Boof.” Add this to Red Sox Nation’s to-do list for the offseason: preparing to take Boof Bonser seriously come April.

The Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson.  Let’s remind ourselves that this was no feat of business managerial genius.  The Tigers, affected by Detroit’s suffering economy, couldn’t carry his salary anymore.  That’s the theme of this offseason for them; they lost Edwin Jackson, too.  They got four players in return who aren’t as good as either and probably never will be.  It’s a sad situation, but one the rest of the baseball world is taking note of.  Point being that if you’re in need of some talent but want it on the cheap through trade, talk to Detroit.  I’ll bet they’d be willing to listen.

And perhaps most importantly, the Jason Bay plot thickens.  Our offer of four years worth sixty million dollars was rejected because he wants a fifth year.  But we’ve publicly stated our commitment to not offering a fifth year; in fact, we’ve said that if someone else offers him a fifth year, we’re just going to assume that he’s leaving Boston and that’s it.  So far, the Mets haven’t done so; their offer was comparable to ours.  The Mariners are also unlikely to offer the fifth year; they’re more interested in keeping Beltre or signing Lackey.  The Angels have more or less dropped out in order to focus on pitching.  And the Yankees just acquired Granderson.  So more waiting seems to be in line.  Bay wanted to test the free agent market, and he’s testing it.  He’s looking for something specific and good luck to him trying to find it.  I’d rather watch him walk away than break the bank.  In fact, if he doesn’t take a more flexible approach, he could find himself in a bind, because guess who’s also a free agent: Matt Holliday.  And guess who the Red Sox are also interested in: Matt Holliday.  Holliday played pretty well for Oakland.  He struggled at the plate initially, which is to be expected from a guy coming over from not only the National League but Coors Field, with all that thin air.  (Which is something you have to keep in mind when looking at Holliday’s career stats, by the way.) In the end, I agree with Curt Schilling: I’d go with Bay because he’s been tested and proven.  All I’m saying is that the presence of Holliday, who unfortunately is represented by Boras, could soften Bay up a bit (in addition to jacking up his own paycheck because until Bay cuts teams some slack, Holliday would effectively be considered the only available elite left-fielder).  So could our reported interest in Mike Cameron, who would be more than happy to switch from center to left for us.  That’s not likely, but it’s a possibility.  But we’d only seriously consider him after both Bay and Holliday become unavailable, and something tells me that may not be an issue.

Casey Kelly has made a decision: he’s going to pitch.  No more shortstop for him.  I completely agree.  The mound will write his one-way ticket to the big leagues; if he decided to play short, we’d be talking a two-way.

Welcome to NESN, Peter Gammons! He signed a multiyear contract as a regular studio analyst and reporter.  This is fantastic.  Personally, I always thought it was funny that such a prominent representative of Red Sox Nation reported for ESPN, which doesn’t have a major presence in Boston.  Well, the world rights itself eventually, I guess.  And I’ll tell you one thing: Peter Gammons must be thrilled, because any television network is better than ESPN for baseball analysts.  I mean, have you seen “Baseball Tonight?” (If you have, let me applaud you for somehow finding out when it’s on TV.) It’s over by the time it starts, so the analysts never have time to convey any real information.  It really makes you appreciate NESN.

Congratulations to Bill James, who’ll receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award for “long and meritorious service to the game.” He’ll be in good company; Hank Aaron and Jim Rice have also received it.  And Bill James definitely deserves it after revolutionizing baseball with his sabermetric approach.  I’m telling you: this game, let alone our team, wouldn’t be where it is today without him.

The Bruins beat the Leafs, 5-2, but lost to the Isles in sudden death.  How we can score five goals against the Leafs and lose to the Isles is beyond me.  The Leafs and Isles are comparable teams, with the Isles only two points ahead.  (Can you believe that? The New York Islanders are third in their division.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that the Flyers are at the bottom of the barrel, but I never would’ve expected the Islanders to be anywhere but under the whole conference.) We’ve dropped to second, by the way.  Two points behind the Sabres.  We should get back up within the coming days.  The Patriots lost to the Dolphins by a point.  A point! The final score was 22-21! It was just awful.  That’s our fourth loss this season and our second in a row.  It pains me to say this, but the Pats are officially on a losing streak.  That must be stopped.

ArmchairGM

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For Red Sox Nation, February means only one thing: pitchers and catchers! Truck Day, baby! On Friday the moving fans started the drive to Fort Myers.  Shipping out of Boston, as it were.  I’m telling you, I can feel spring already.  One month until Spring Training, and then it’s go time.  Anyway, Truck Day was as awesome as usual.  Johnny Pesky started the engines, the eighteen-wheeler left from the players’ entrance at Fenway, Wally the Green Monster was there of course, and new for this year: the equipment trucks will have in their inventory a box of well-wishing emails from the Nation.  Good luck for 2009.  The point is, it’s almost here.  I can feel it.  February’s cold, but Truck Day just puts that extra spring in your step (pun intended).  Baseball season’s right around the corner.  And we’re going to own it.  Wow, I love this time of year.

And we got to kick off our celebrations early, because Hank Aaron celebrated his 75th birthday on Thursday.  Always good to celebrate a baseball legend.

Some interesting developments to report.  Mark Kotsay’s having back surgery, which could actually make things very complicated.  Here’s why.  Mikey Lowell’s rehab is ahead of schedule, so that’s good, but we need insurance just in case.  In case of an emergency, the plan was to move Youk to third and have Kotsay cover first.  But now that Kotsay is having surgery, we’ll need someone to fill his role.  Enter Brad Wilkerson.  We signed him to a one-year minor league contract worth the Major League minimum of $400,000 with incentives: $2.1 million in roster and performance bonuses.  But it’s unlikely things will go that far; Kotsay is only expected to miss a month at most, depending on his rehab.  So we should be good.

Lastly on the baseball front, there’ve been some intriguing discoveries lately involving one A-Rod.  Or should I say A-Fraud.  Or perhaps more appropriately A-Roid.  Turns out he tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003, the same year he won the AL home run title and MVP.  Apparently this is how it all went down.  Major League Baseball has prohibited the use of steroids without a prescription since 1991, but there were no consequences for use in 2003.  But A-Rod tested positive at the time, and his information was found by federal agents with search warrants who seized all of the 0303 results in 2004 as part of a government investigation into ten Major League guys tied to BALCO, although A-Rod himself reportedly isn’t.  He’d been taking testosterone and Primobolan (scientific name: methonolone).  Apparently, Primobolan has few side effects and boosts strength with little bulk development.  It’s also pretty expensive.  Its use among players increased in 2003 because it’s detection period is short.  According to the FDA, Primobolan is not and was never an approved prescription drug in the United States.

Wow.  That’s all I can say.  Not that I’m surprised.  But yeah.  Wow.  I think I’ll let this one speak for itself.

On the hockey front, the Bruins are faring very well.  Recent conquests include the Rangers, the Habs, the Flyers, and the Senators.  Even when we lost to the Flyers yesterday, it was in overtime, so we still get a point.  We have 85 points right now.  That’s six more than the Sharks, probably the biggest disparity we’ve enjoyed all season.  We could be in line for the Presidents’ Trophy.  Even this late in the season, I still can’t get over how completely dominant we are.  It’s unbelievable.  Two years ago we were at the bottom of the pile.  Last year we lost the season series to the Habs and barely held out to the final game of our last playoff round.  This year nobody can touch us.  It’s fantastic.  I love it.

Boston.com/Steve Silva

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And that’s how you know we’re away. We lost. In this particular case, it was close. The final score was 3-1 in favor of the Reds, good for Justin Masterson’s first big-league loss to make his record also 3-1. But what an effort. Not bad for his first career road start in the Major Leagues. Actually, it was his longest start, lasting 6.2 innings. He allowed three runs, two of which were solo homers, on four hits, walked three, and struck out (are you ready for this?) nine batters. So, not bad for his first road start. Not bad at all. And, as always, Red Sox Nation came out in full dress to Great American Ball Park and made themselves heard. In fact, before the game, our old friend Bronson Arroyo told his teammates that Red Sox fans travel farther and much more often than fans of any other team. And he is absolutely right.

But it wasn’t just the loss that was disappointing. It was who we lost to. Aaron Harang’s ERA before the game was very high, and his OPP AVG was .411. This win improves his record to 3-9. I guess the best way to explain it is that Masterson had a good night, but Harang had a great night. Hey, everyone has to lose sometime. What this shows us is that a loss for Masterson is barely a loss. Giving up three runs and losing by a two-run deficit is nothing to be ashamed of.

We did manage to out-hit the Reds, 5-4. Interestingly, though, there were no stolen bases in last night’s contest by either team. That’s rare for us, considering that Ellsbury and Lugo can both fly. Lopez and Aardsma were spot-on. What a great acquisition Aardsma’s become. All three of last night’s Boston pitchers have an ERA under 3.00: 2.90 for Masterson, 2.55 for Lopez, and 2.97 for Aardsma. Not to mention the fact that Aardsma is the only player who’s been able to precede Hank Aaron alphabetically.

After yesterday’s loss, our Interleague record is 31-9 since 2006. Tito even had the pitchers going through some batting exercises. I still maintain that Interleague is good for the team. The National League is not exactly at the same caliber of the American League, proven by the fact that the National League hasn’t won an All-Star Game since 1996. And by the fact that the National League has won only 42 modern World Series titles (since 1903), compared with the American League’s 61.

Wake at Edinson Volquez tonight. Volquez has an ERA of 1.56 and is currently 9-2 on the season. Should be interesting, to say the least.

Boston Red Sox 1908 logo

Wikipedia

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